Cimpress buys design platform

Jo Francis
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Cimpress has acquired creative platform 99designs, a worldwide design community.

99designs: enabling remote creative connections
99designs: enabling remote creative connections

99designs is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and was founded 12 years ago. The business has created a worldwide community of designers which allows clients to either choose a designer based on their style, or launch a design pitch contest.

The firm also has offices in Berlin and Oakland in California.

Cimpress said the platform would become part of its Vistaprint web-to-print offering, as well as continuing as a standalone brand.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. A portion was paid when the takeover deal completed on 1 October, with the remainder to be paid in February 2022. Cimpress funded the transaction using its existing credit facility.

Cimpress founder and CEO Robert Keane said that Vistaprint’s focus on SME businesses had been the driving force behind the deal, and that putting together Vistaprint’s 20m-plus customers with the 99designs community would result in a powerful global platform.

“We know how critical great design is for entrepreneurs on their journey. 99designs and Vistaprint have shared values and vision to be a trusted partner to business owners and creators, which lay the foundation for something bigger and more valuable than either of our teams could create alone,” he said.

Design services available through 99designs include logos, business stationery, websites and apps, book covers, packaging, and merchandise and t-shirts. Prices start at £239 for logo design. The firm said it had paid out more than $300m (£231m) to creatives to date. 

99designs also has a ‘Pro’ feature targeted at design agencies.

Its existing partners for print and promotional products include Swag.com, Sticker Giant, Inke and Packlane.

99designs CEO Patrick Llewellyn said that the firm’s know-how in “enabling remote creative connections” had been particularly valuable in a year “when the whole world has had to work together online”.

“Vistaprint’s belief and investment in both our team and technology is testament to the enormous potential in human-powered creativity, as well as the profound impact that great design has on a small business,” he said.

Llewellyn will continue to helm 99designs and will report to Keane.

Cimpress said that Vistaprint planned to make “significant post-acquisition investment” to expand the 99designs team and to accelerate the pace of technology and product development.

Cimpress had sales of $2.48bn in its most recent financial year. Vistaprint is its biggest business, with sales of $1.34bn.

Earlier this year Cimpress’ UK trade printing operation Tradeprint teamed up with Canva to offer a self-service design-to-print solution.

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